Picks, Predictions and Prognosis for Every Week 12 Big 12 Football Game
The road to the Big 12 title will take a monstrous step forward in Week 12.
Oklahoma State and Texas, two teams in the mix for a BCS bowl berth, will play this Saturday in what will be the first of three crucial weeks for both programs.
Baylor, on the fringe of a possible BCS championship opportunity, must take care of a sliding Texas Tech to keep those title hopes alive.
Other teams, like West Virginia and TCU, are desperate for wins just to make it to a bowl game.
Suffice to say, there's a lot on the line in Week 12. So who comes out on top?
(All rankings reflect the latest BCS standings.)
West Virginia at Kansas
Saturday, Nov. 16 at noon ET
Playing in a must-win game at Kansas to avoid bowl ineligibility probably isn't—and this is only a guess—what West Virginia pictured when it joined the Big 12 last year.
Yet here the Mountaineers are, a 6.5-point favorite over the Jayhawks, according to VegasInsider.com.
WVU is banged up too. Quarterback Clint Trickett is still being evaluated for a head injury he suffered in last Saturday's 47-40 overtime loss to Texas. Also, linebacker Jared Barber is out for the year with an ACL injury.
However, the Mountaineers have the best player on the field in running back Charles Sims. Get Sims the ball 25-30 times and moving the ball shouldn't be an issue. On defense, West Virginia needs to play disciplined if dual-threat quarterback Montell Cozart sees game time for Kansas.
Otherwise, West Virginia may consider shutting down the season a game early.
Score prediction: West Virginia 28, Kansas 20
Iowa State at No. 18 Oklahoma
Saturday, Nov. 16 at noon ET
Oklahoma got embarrassed on national television last Thursday in a 41-12 loss to Baylor. But the embarrassing part wasn't so much the score as it was watching OU try to figure out what to do on offense. The Sooners tried a few different schemes, but nothing really worked.
The good news for Oklahoma is that Iowa State's defense hasn't been nearly as salty as it has been in recent years.
Oklahoma coach Bob Stoops said he'll stick with redshirt junior Blake Bell at quarterback, but it's still possible season-opening starter Trevor Knight could see some time as well.
OU may not figure out its offensive identity against the Cyclones, but it shouldn't be bad enough to decide the outcome. If nothing else, the Sooners' defense will get the job done against a battered and bruised ISU offense.
Score prediction: Oklahoma 35, Iowa State 13
TCU at Kansas State
Saturday, Nov. 16 at 3:30 p.m. ET
Since starting the season 2-4, Kansas State has turned into one of the hottest teams in the Big 12. Standing in the way of a fourth straight win for the Wildcats is TCU, which needs a victory just to stay alive for bowl eligibility.
K-State is running the ball as well as any team in the conference. The two-quarterback system of Daniel Sams and Jake Waters is working well, too. If the Frogs have any chance of staying in the game, it's going to have to rely on it's defense.
Stopping the run and forcing turnovers in passing situations may just be the spark TCU's inconsistent offense needs to accumulate points. Otherwise, K-State's defense has been doing a much better job of getting off the field on third downs.
If K-State takes care of the ball and controls the time of possession, even TCU's stellar defense will get worn down. This one feels like a matchup that favors the Wildcats every time.
Score prediction: Kansas State 27, TCU 17
No. 12 Oklahoma State at No. 24 Texas
Saturday, Nov. 16 at 3:30 p.m. ET
The biggest game on paper in Week 12 will be in Austin, Texas...just like everyone thought it would be when the Longhorns were 1-2 in late September.
You have to give head coach Mack Brown and this Texas team some credit. They've bounced back and won six straight games despite numerous injuries to starters on both sides of the ball.
The question is whether those injuries will begin to catch up to Texas, especially with Oklahoma State coming to town. In addition to the season-ending injuries to linebacker Jordan Hicks, running back Johnathan Gray and defensive tackle Chris Whaley, quarterback David Ash remains out with lingering concussion symptoms, per Texas. The 'Horns will also be without offensive lineman Josh Cochran, and fellow lineman Kennedy Estelle is listed as questionable.
It will be interesting to see if Texas can run the ball effectively again after struggling to do so against West Virginia. Or, will quarterback Case McCoy be asked to win another game for the Longhorns?
And how will Texas' suddenly-improved defense look against an Oklahoma State offense that has become more potent with Desmond Roland starting at running back?
The odds have been stacked against Texas basically all season, yet this team has been able to overcome the adversity. Though Texas gets the Pokes at home, the winning streak finally comes to an end.
Score prediction: Oklahoma State 42, Texas 38
No. 5 Baylor at Texas Tech
Saturday, Nov. 16 at 7:00 p.m. ET in Arlington
What looked like one of the games of the year in the Big 12 a few weeks ago has since lost some luster. That's what a three-game losing streak for Texas Tech will do.
Still, Saturday's game in AT&T Stadium in Arlington could be fun if Texas Tech's offense can keep pace with Baylor's. The issue for the Red Raiders will be stopping the run; something that's progressively gotten harder to do as the year has gone along.
The Bears could be without running backs Lache Seastrunk and Glasco Martin, who are day-to-day with groin and knee injuries, respectively. However, running back Shock Linwood stepped up last Thursday against Oklahoma to give Baylor's offense a (warning: bad pun alert) spark.
The other thing that could be the difference is Texas Tech's inability to hold on to the football. The Red Raiders are 116th in the country in turnover margin, and you simply can't give Baylor more opportunities to score.
Score prediction: Baylor 49, Texas Tech 24
Ben Kercheval is the lead writer for Big 12 football. All quotes/news obtained firsthand unless noted otherwise. You can follow Ben on Twitter @BenKercheval.